Complexity and simplicity in minimal lexica: The lexicon of Chinook Jargon

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I examine the ways the minimal lexicon of a pidgin language, Chinook Jargon, gains maximal efficiency when put into use in a contemporary fictional text. The paper first describes the lexicon used from a structural point of view. It then examines the use of multifunctional lexical items in comparison to English. The results of these studies show, that 1) there is no bound morphology (neither derivational nor inflectional) in the variety studied and, 2) there is much more multifunctionality in the pidgin text than in the English texts. Finally, it is argued that the results show that the lexicon studied can indeed be described as simple and efficient.


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